Numerous South Africans have complained they could not stream the first Springbok game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup using the SABC’s online streaming service.
Only a few minutes into the match against Scotland on Sunday evening, several Twitter/X users said that the SABC+ platform was not loading for them.
“SABC Plus just crashed just as we were singing the national anthem for the @Springboks. I wonder why no one cares about this failed corporation anymore. To SuperSport TV we go,” one user said.
“The app decides to crash just in time! I’m more disappointed than upset or surprised. With all the work put in, I’d expect better,” another said. “Apparently, it’s the app and the website!”
“Wow, SABC Sport and SABC 2. You had one job. SuperSport did their bit, but once again, you ruined it for the average South African,” a third user wrote.
“Is anyone else also not able to access SABC Plus app? Too many users? Eish, but SABC cries for not being able to “bring” rugby to the nation,” a fourth said.
There were dozens more examples of similar complaints on Twitter at the time of publication.
Several MyBroadband readers also said they were unable to access the stream, regardless of whether they used a computer browser, mobile browser, or the SABC+ app.
When trying to open the SABC 2 live channel via a browser, the website would load for a long period before showing an error.
Attempting to log in via the mobile app yields a “Connection error” message.
The screenshots below show examples of some of the issues experienced when trying to access the SABC+ app and website during the Springboks’ match against Scotland on Sunday, 10 September 2023.
The public broadcaster secured the rights to broadcast 16 matches from the tournament live a day before it kicked off on Friday, 8 September 2023.
That came after a sub-licencing stand-off with MultiChoice over the past few weeks, in which the broadcaster reportedly refused to pay $2 million (R38 million) for the rights to broadcast all confirmed and potential Springboks matches.
While the SABC did not have the money to buy the rights, three companies helped to finance the last-minute deal, which ended up costing them $3 million (R58 million).
According to a statement issued by MultiChoice on Thursday, the deal is for 16 live matches. However, the SABC Sport website states it has secured the rights to 19 games.
In addition to the opening match between New Zealand and France and the Springboks’ pool games, the agreement includes two quarter-final matches, one semi-final, the bronze final, the final and the closing ceremony.
“Should the Springboks not qualify for the knockout stages, the above matches will, in any event, be available for broadcast,” MultiChoice said.
Controversially, the deal blocks the SABC from broadcasting the matches on Openview’s free-to-view satellite TV platform.
Openview’s parent company is eMedia, which also owns E-tv. SABC 1, SABC 2, SABC 3, and SABC Sport are available on the platforms.
eMedia has said it does not generate any advertising revenue from SABC’s channels on its platform.
SABC+ was officially launched in November 2022 after taking over and rebranding the TelkomONE streaming service. The SABC partnered with Telkom to roll out TelkomOne in November 2020.
MyBroadband asked the public broadcaster for feedback on the SABC+ loading errors during the Springboks game but did not immediately receive feedback by the time of publication.